Henman: Rise in Wimbledon prize money shows how good game is now
13:36 GMT, 25 April 2012
Tim Henman believes Wimbledon have
answered the demands of players with the 10% increase in prize money for
this year's tournament announced yesterday.
The four-time semi-finalist, who is
on the board at the All England Club, travelled with chairman Phillip
Brook to Indian Wells last month to discuss the issue with Novak
Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray after they asked
for a meeting.
Claire Lomas and Tim Henman during her charity walk of the London Marathon
Many players feel they are not adequately rewarded for their part in the success of grand slams in particular, with prize money accounting for less than 20% of revenue. Henman said: 'Not so long ago I was a player and I'm sure I was asking for the same thing.
'The percentage increase in prize money over the last five years has been very substantial considering there is a recession at the moment. Wimbledon is very generous compared to a lot of other tournaments and I think this is a good deal all round.'
There had even been talk of a strike, with the prize money issue one of a number vexing the top players, who feel they do not have enough power within their sport. Henman is glad that now appears to be off the agenda, and he said: 'It's not good for the players, it's not good for anyone, but I don't think that was ever really a possibility.'
The total prize money for the 2012 Championships will be 16.1million, up from 14.6million 12 months ago and more than 42% higher than in 2007.
The intervention of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray was not principally to benefit themselves, though, with the biggest increase coming for the early losers.
Players who go out in the first round of the men's or ladies' singles will earn 14,500, up 26% from last year, while the winners will receive 1.15million, an increase of 4.5%.
Henman said: 'We have been discussing it for quite some time. The total increase is a reward for how good the game is right now.
'Prize money has really been targeted towards the right-hand side of the draw in the past but it's important everyone has the opportunity to earn a living and we want to make sure the lower-ranked players don't get forgotten.'
The 37-year-old was speaking as he walked with fundraiser Claire Lomas, who is attempting to become the first person to complete the London Marathon using a bionic ReWalk suit.
Lomas, who was paralysed in a horse-riding accident in 2007, is hoping to raise more than 50,000 for the charity Spinal Research during her walk, which is expected to take around a fortnight.
Henman said: “It's been amazing. Claire is just an inspiration. To see what she's doing and her attitude is incredible.”
For more information on Claire Lomas and to keep up to date with her progress, please visit www.get-claire-walking.co.uk. You can also sponsor Claire online at www.justgiving.com/Claire-Lomas.
You can learn more about Spinal Research, the UK's leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop reliable treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck, by visiting www.spinal-research.org.